Africa’s middle classes have during the last decade emerged as a prominent reference point for discussing the potential role of social strata for development. This overview article by Henning Melber recapitulates and critically reflects the debate. It suggests not to expect the middle classes being a relevant vehicle for social transformation beyond its own interests.
The Research Coordinator provides administrative support for research conducted at NAI (grant and externally funded) throughout the life cycle of the research project. This includes support with proposal writing, contracts, data management, ethical issues and project implementation. The coordinator will be the natural point of contact for communication between project leaders, research funders and collaborators. The coordinator will also play a key role in the development of research budgets, forecasts and reports and actively monitor research funding opportunities, policy and regulatory changes, as well as coordinates the compilation of our internal reporting (monitoring, evaluation and learning) as part of the Institute’s follow-up. The position supports the Head of Research and is responsible for maintaining long-term relationships with strategic partners in both the Nordic and African regions. Travel within the Nordic region and to African countries may be involved.
Qualifications and requirements
- Master’s degree in economics, political science, international relations or equivalent.
- At least 3-5 years of relevant experience in coordinating research projects, managing research projects or research funding
- Experience in coordinating social science research projects
- Very good computer skills
- Good communication and cooperation skills
- Fluent in Swedish and English (written and oral), desirable Portuguese or French (written and oral)
- Experience working with the African continent or the global south
About the position
Temporary position for two years. Start no later than 1 September 2022 or as agreed.
About the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI)
The Nordic Africa Institute is an institute for research, documentation, knowledge dissemination and research-based consultancy on Africa. Founded in 1962, the Institute is a Swedish government agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and is jointly funded by Sweden, Finland and Iceland. The dedicated international team of 33 staff from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, works on current African social issues from different perspectives. The NAI cares for its staff and actively works on health and environmental issues. The office and library are located in a beautiful building in the Botanical Garden in the heart of Uppsala.
Please submit your CV and a covering letter in English via the NAI application system (link below).
Should you have further information, please refer to Eleanor Fisher (Head of Research) or Dan Åkhagen (HR).
The Nordic Africa Institute offers an opportunity for early-career researchers in Africa to pursue their own research projects in the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities. The scholarship offers access to the Institute’s library and other resources that provide for a stimulating research environment.
About the programme
The purpose of the African Guest Researchers’ Scholarship Programme is to provide opportunities for early-career researchers based in Africa to work and develop their ongoing research at the Nordic Africa Institute. The scholarship offers access to the Institute’s library and other resources that provide for a stimulating research environment. Through the programme, the Nordic Africa Institute aims to contribute to building capacity in the production of knowledge about Africa and to promote and establish relations with and between African and Nordic research communities.
The maximum duration of the stay is 90 days, minimum is 60 days. Also note that most academic institutions in the Nordic countries, including the Nordic Africa Institute, are closed or at least running at a reduced capacity during the periods 15 June–15 August and 15 December–15 January. Applicants can thus not choose these periods for their visit.
The scholarship includes a return air-fare (economy class), accommodation, a subsistence allowance of 400 SEK (approx. 40 USD) per day plus an installation grant of 2,500 SEK (approx. 250 USD) and access to a workspace, including a desk computer, in a shared office at the Institute. Please note that the subsistence allowance will be provided only for the days spent in Uppsala.
The scholarship programme is directed at early career researchers based in Africa and engaged in Africa-oriented research. The research topic should be within the disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities, and with a focus on contemporary Africa.
The programme is open to two main categories of early career researchers:
- Staff employed by an African-based university or research center who are enrolled on a doctoral programme in the African region and who do not have access to an international scholarship
- Postdoctoral researchers (within 5 years or less of PhD completion)
Should you have any practical questions or concerns, please contact Marie Karlsson.
The SEI report “Understanding the role of development finance institutions in promoting development: an assessment of three African countries,” is now launched.
About the report by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
The report seeks to understand the role of development finance institutions (DFI) in supporting the objectives of national development plans, particularly those emphasizing the SDGs, set by the developing countries within which DFIs invest.
The authors focus on DFIs that provide finance to the private sector under concessional terms, seeking a profit. The analysis of DFI funding is set within the broader context of the role played by financial flows, such as commercial finance and foreign aid (i.e. Official Development Assistance, ODA), in supporting national development objectives. Three country case studies are used as a lens for the analysis, namely Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana.
The report defines the role that DFIs play as investors as well as their potential contribution to development outcomes, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Finally, the report identifies opportunities where DFI investments could support sectors deemed as strategic by governments following the DFI investment principles of financial additionality, development impacts and catalytic effects. The paper suggests four steps that DFIs could follow to increase their level of funding towards strategic sectors. These are:
- to identify the strategic sectors
- compare these with current DFI investment activities
- discuss how DFIs could support investments in these sectors with key stakeholders (private sector, other financing institutions and the government), and
- to invest in the target priority sectors.
Comments from the authors
Regarding the purpose of the joint research, George Marbuah, Research Fellow at SEI Headquarters, said:
“DFIs can be even more strategic and transformational with their investments by aligning their portfolios with country development strategies. This report shows how DFIs can enhance their development impact in Africa.”
Text adapted by the SweDev Secretariat from the original publication post on the SEI website.
Cristiano Lanzano is a social anthropologist at the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI). Lanzano’s research focuses on mining, natural resources and conservation, and the anthropology of sustainable development. In conversation with SweDev’s Alessandro Giacardi, he describes the current Covid-19 and development challenges through an anthropology lens.
Q: The Covid-19 pandemic has destabilized the world’s balance, worsening the situation of the most fragile countries. With this in mind, what do you think has changed and will change within development studies?
A: Even if we are still too close to the pandemic to evaluate its long-term consequences, two main elements emerged. Firstly, travel restrictions have given more space to researchers based in the Global South to speak for their reality and witness the Covid-19 impacts on their territories. This may open opportunities for a less Eurocentric production of academic knowledge in the field of development, but the final outcomes remain to be seen.
Secondly, the pandemic places issues such as global health, associated with global inequalities back on the agenda. The pandemic highlights the role of science and technology and calls for a truly global approach and for a greater integration between social and natural sciences.
Q: You are a social anthropologist focusing on anthropology of development. What does development mean in the context of anthropology and what are you teaching to your students?
A: The relationship between anthropology and development is complex but very stimulating. James Ferguson has provokingly defined development as “the evil twin of anthropology.” Many anthropologists tend to distance themselves from development as a discipline and practice, even if historically we have a lot in common. Especially when western anthropologists conduct research in the Global South, they can often be mistaken for development workers. After all, beside our background, we often share the same interest for certain topics, and networks. When I first did my fieldwork in Senegal, my initial contact was an Italian NGO working there: this shaped the way I looked at reality during fieldwork, even if I tried to be aware of it and develop a critical stance.
Written by Cristiano Lanzano, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute and Alessandro Giacardi, Communication and Research Intern at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) for the Development and Aid Policy Team and SweDev. Edits by Ylva Rylander and Alice Castensson.